Apr 1, 2012




(Orlando Sentiel) -- Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot?

A leading expert in the field of forensic voice identification sought to answer that question by analyzing the recordings for the Orlando Sentinel.

His result: It was not George Zimmerman who called for help.

Tom Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Another expert contacted by the Sentinel, utilizing different techniques, came to the same conclusion.

Zimmerman claims self-defense in the shooting and told police he was the one screaming for help. But these experts say the evidence tells a different story.

George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, shot Trayvon, an unarmed 17-year-old, during a one-on-one confrontation Feb. 26.

Before the shot, one of them can be heard screaming for help.

Owen, a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, is an authority on biometric voice analysis — a computerized process comparing attributes of voices to determine whether they match.

After the Sentinel contacted Owen, he used software called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman's voice to the 911 call screams.

"I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else," Owen says.

The software compared that audio to Zimmerman's voice. It returned a 48 percent match. Owen said to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he'd expect higher than 90 percent.

"As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman," Owen says, stressing that he cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice to compare.

Forensic voice identification is not a new or novel concept; in fact, a recent U.S. Department of Justice committee report notes that federal interest in the technology "has a history of nearly 70 years."

Not all experts rely on biometrics. Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, is not a believer in the technology's use in courtroom settings.

He relies instead on audio enhancement and human analysis based on forensic experience. After listening closely to the 911 tape on which the screams are heard, Primeau also has a strong opinion.

"I believe that's Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt," Primeau says, stressing that the tone of the voice is a giveaway. "That's a young man screaming."

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3 comments:

  1. The recording was taken from 911 tapes. And I doubt these guys got an actual copy from the police. So it's a recording of a recording - where the source is a cell phone microphone. A 48 percent match compared to other audio of Zimmermans voice where he was not screaming out HELP but where he was casually describing a suspicious person. Not exactly "stressed" as a comparison - which they said they did. So get a recording of Zimmerman being beat against concrete and screaming and I'll bet you'll get your other 50 percent voice match.

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  2. I almost neglected to say ... cell phone microphone source from inside of an apartment - through concrete walls and wall board and maybe through closed windows while cell phone is being held against the users face.

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  3. WHY WOULD A GUN HAPPY PERSON LIKE ZIMMERMAN, ALREADY HOLDING A GUN ON SOMEONE BE HOLLERING FOR HELP, UNLESS....IT WAS A SET UP? IF HE WAS HOLLERING FOR HELP HE DID IT INTENTIONALLY SO THAT HE WOULD HAVE AN EXCUSE FOR SHOOTING MARTIN. IS YOUR ANONYMOUS NAME REALLY DOUBTING THOMAS? AND THINK ABOUT THIS THOMAS...I WANT THE POWERS THAT BE TO CHECK THE PRINTS IN THOSE BURGLARS THAT OCCURED IN ZIMMERMANS NEIGHBORHOOD TO SEE IF IT IS HIM COMMITTING THE CRIMES SO THAT HE COULD HAVE WATCH PATROL SECURITY SO THAT HE WOULD BE "NEEDED". PUT THAT IN UR PIPE AND SMOKE IT

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